Why vinyl records are making a comeback in 2022

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The first sound recorded was the voice of Thomas Edison, captured on the phonograph in 1877 while reciting part of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

10 years later, Emile Berliner created the first device that records and reproduces sound using a flat disc, the precursor of modern discs.

Victrola

Over the next six decades, records and turntables were improved and standardized, with 33- and 45-rpm drives supplanting most other formats in the years following World War II.

By the 1970s, turntable technology had evolved to the point where it changed little over the next half century. At that time, tapes came and went. CDs came and went. And MP3 players have been replaced by phones, just like cameras, pocket calendars, and our social lives, more or less.

This year 2020 marks the first year in more than a generation since record sales – that is, physical vinyl records – topped CD sales. The reasons for this are twofold: CD sales have fallen dramatically in recent years, while vinyl record sales are actually on the rise this year. And while you might think it’s the nostalgic Baby Boomers or Gen X that are driving the record renaissance, in fact polls show millennials are driving the trend. on the rise in vinyl sales.

Scott Hagen
Scott Hagen

The way most people listen to music has changed. “You hear music when you’re at the cafe, in the car, at the gym, sometimes walking down the street, we hear it everywhere,” says Scott Hagen, CEO of Victrola. “In every store we walk into, we hear it and consume more music than ever before, but not in the same way. The ability to stop and sit and listen to an album from start to finish is something that has always been and always will be relevant.

Charlie Randall, CEO of McIntosh Labs, agrees: “I think it is natural for any generation to think that the technology of its time will be replaced by technology of the future and will be gone. For the most part, I think it does, except with vinyl records. There is something romantic about the records, something satisfying about opening the album cover, seeing the fantastic artwork and studying the cover notes while listening to the album. This is something that today’s digital files simply cannot replace.

There is nothing quick about a record. While you can tap your phone and rip a song to Amazon Unlimited or Apple Music in seconds, with a record you have to remove it from the sleeve, open the top of the record player, carefully place the vinyl record, and adjust. the stylus, then turn everything on and wait for this warm crackle to preface this rare experience: music as an activity, not as a backdrop.

Victrola
Victrola

In an age that is both increasingly frenzied but also increasingly encircled in the age of social distancing from coronaviruses, people are taking this classic approach to ‘listening’ to music more than ever before. And while in the past a record player might seem like a luxury item that bordered on even frivolousness, not only is a new appreciation for the way we listen is a factor, but more, high-quality turntables are barely out of place. range. for the average consumer.

“We have gathered a lot of information from our current customers and from people who have expressed an interest in owning a record player for the first time,” said Hagen, “and what we have learned is is that people looking to play vinyl want something with the convenience, ease of use of a classic suitcase record player, but that looked gorgeous at home and even sounded a little better. than that of an entry-level player.

“We not only identified these trends, but we also built a record player that looks and sounds great and still only costs $ 99,” said Hagen, referring to the new Eastwood hybrid turntable from Victrola. Why hybrid? Because far from being a throwback, this device, like many similar audio equipment these days, is also a bluetooth speaker, so your modern devices can stream just like your classic collection of 33 and 45 can. turn. “This category of hybrid record players is just a great way to get people into vinyl.”

Vinyl is therefore here to stay, it seems, despite all the technological advances that have seemed to threaten it. The same RIAA study that found records exceeding CDs also found that streaming music now accounts for over 85% of all music enjoyed. Only 6% of music is now downloaded, even less than what is physically purchased in the form of discs, CDs or the latest cassettes.

Discs therefore do not sell like digital, but that does not mean that they are outdone.

Charlie randall
Charlie randall

“I think they’re definitely here to stay,” Charlie Randall says. “We are seeing discs and turntables becoming more popular and more technologically advanced like [with] our integrated turntable MTI100, for example.

“I think he has a ton of stamina,” says Scott Hagen. “In 2013, there were approximately $ 200 million in sales in the United States. The year we’re probably going to eclipse the $ 600 million in America alone. I see the future of vinyl becoming more and more of a staple in homes where people enjoy listening to music, not less. We just polled over 400 people, people between the ages of 18 and 70, and asked them if they had a vinyl record player at home, and over 55% said yes. But what was really interesting was that of those people who had a record player, over 70% said they had used it, had listened to a record in the past month.

“But even more convincing to me,” Hagen added, “is that among 18-29 year olds, over 60% had a record player. And others were planning to get one.

Why does Scott Hagen think record players are not only going nowhere, but becoming more and more popular?

“Because the world we live in needs that kind of format – it needs us to slow down and enjoy a really good meal once in a while, a good bourbon or a nice cocktail once in a while, and that we would just sit and listen to music. sometimes.”

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